Gangster Report correspondent Ricardo Ferrell contributed to this article:

November 27, 2019 — After trumpeting the indictment back in the summer, the U.S. Attorneys office in Michigan has dropped federal arson and wire fraud charges against George (G.G.) Rider, a man some compare to the fictional character “Ghost,” in the hit television drama Power. The charges were eagerly announced on the heels of Rider’s questionable conviction in a first-degree murder case out of state court in Macomb County, which encompasses Detroit’s eastside suburbs, but the dismissing of the case was met with little to no fanfare earlier this month. Not even a press release was issued.

According to the original indictment, Rider admitted to a jailhouse informant to committing an arson of a commercial property as part of an insurance fraud scheme, as well as other arsons and gangland murders over the past 30 years. The informant, Paul Bachi, was locked up facing attempted murder charges, accused to conspiring to kill his fiancé.

The feds have been after the 61-year old Rider for decades, a relentless and arguably vindictive pursuit that finally bared fruit when Rider was found guilty of first degree murder in the slaying of Julii Johnson back in June. Rider’s ties to the crime were purely circumstantial and tenuous at best.

Johnson, 34, was gunned down in a contract hit in January 2017 leaving her boyfriend’s house. The shooter, Eric Gibson, was hired by Marci Griffin, her boyfriend Jimmy Lattner’s ex-fiance and mother to his two children. Lattner is a convicted drug dealer, the one-time leader of the so-called World Domination Gang of the late 1990s and was feuding with Griffin over his new romance at the time of Johnson’s homicide. A DNA mix-up in the investigation initially had Lattner’s fingerprints on the murder weapon.

Prosecutors claimed Rider was the middle-man in the murder contract and showed the jury text messages exchanged between Rider and Griffin on the morning Johnson was killed that seemed benign when taken at face value but were presented as a coded conversation. The state also showed jurors a grainy Home Depot surveillance camera video of two people prosecutors identified as Rider and Gibson entering the store together in the days before Johnson’s murder. Gibson had some business dealings with an entertainment company Rider was connected to as well. Rider is appealing his conviction.

The wild pursuit of Rider, described as a pseudo folk hero on the eastside of Detroit, began in the 1980s when he ran a narcotics empire. Convicted in a federal cocaine conspiracy in 1994, he did eight years of prison time before walking free in the 2000s and reinventing himself as a legitimate businessman and real estate mogul. In the months before Rider was indicted for Johnson’s murder, he sold the historic Fine Arts Theatre at the Southern-most end of Detroit’s midtown district for 2.5 million bucks.

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